How to Inspect and Maintain Your Inflatable Boat or Kayak?
Posted by JAMES S.
Like any other pricey asset, you must maintain an inflatable boat regularly to keep it looking and functioning like new for a long time.
There’s also the safety aspect to consider. According to federal estimates,100 people die each year in boating accidents. And while it’s not the only factor, keeping your inflatable boat in top condition can prevent accidents.
Proven Tips to Maintain an Inflatable Boat
Here are the key inflatable boat maintenance tips you need to know.
Dry it Immediately Immediately after Each use
After use, hanging a kayak boat upside down on a drying rack is great. This measure ensures moisture doesn't get trapped between the air bladder and fabric cover.
This act will help it dry out more quickly, reducing the risk of fungi growth inside and causing accelerated material deterioration.
Always Inspect Kayak Before Heading on Water
Before each use, you must inspect the kayak fabric covers for wear and tear. Check for any tears or holes in the body. And double-check that the seams are securely sealed.
This caution prevents water from entering the inflated boats and causing gradual damage.
In addition, ensure to check the air chambers for any damage. In the event of any damage, seek professional repair before using the inflatable boat again.
Static Inflation Test
Another tip for maintaining your inflatable boat is ensuring the air chambers continue to expand while all valves are closed. This test is called a static inflation test.
The procedure for this examination is as follows:
- Deflate the boat so that there is only one air balloon on each side of the boat.
- Set the inflatable boat on a flat surface.
- Inflate the boat's chambers one at a time using an air pump.
- Maintain the pressure by pumping the boat until it can float independently without assistance.
- Before moving on to the next chamber, ensure that all the ones you've already checked are secure and tight.
- Before proceeding, the other bladders wait about 10-15 minutes to reach total inflation. Then check for any lingering leaks.
Keep Your Boat in A Dry, Cool Place
When properly stored, you can reuse an inflatable boat multiple times without worrying about washing after each use. Making sure there's no lingering water or dampness within the boat is the first step to preventing damage.
At least once a month, you should let the air out of your inflated boat before putting it away. Afterward, you may fold up the fabric cover and put the boat and all of its extras (paddles, seat, oar brackets, air pump) away in the carrying bag.
Finally, in maintaining your inflatable boat, ensure you don't keep it in a hot, stuffy space like an attic, especially in the summer. The increased heat there will hasten the boat's fabric's breakdown.
Use Outer Covering
Another way to care for your inflatable boat is by using a thick, plush, and strong fabric to cover it when it's not in use. Tarpaulin materials are great and resistant to mildew growth and dry rot.
Related Article: How Long Do PVC Inflatable Boats Last?
Get a Simple Repair Kit
Inflatable kayaks require regular maintenance to extend their useful life and reduce the likelihood of expensive repairs down the road. Even with regular maintenance, an inflatable boat may spring a leak or other faults while you’re on the water.
It’s better to always sail with a basic repair kit with essential tools and supplies. If there are any problems while sailing, you can attempt a quick fix with your repair kit until help arrives.
Always Lock Your Boat
It's essential to keep your kayak under close supervision at all times. This caution is not just to keep your boat from theft. It will also prevent unwanted usage.
No expert paddler wants an incompetent user to risk accidents on their boats. Without locks, unattended kayaks are easy prey for opportunistic aimless passers-by.
Follow All Instructions
Inflatable kayaks are similar to automobiles. They require proper operation from the driver alongside regular maintenance.
Read the instructional handbook you get when you buy a new inflatable boat. And you can contact the manufacturer if you have questions regarding your boat’s operation.
The handbook will contain pre-emptive recommendations for proper use. More importantly, you'll find out how to inspect a kayak and the steps to take if a component is damaged.
Make sure You Have Some Spare Air Valves and Belts
Owners of kayaks should always have a few things in case of damage or misplacement while sailing.
Things that should also be in your possession are:
- Kit for making fixes
- Repair materials
- A reel of duct tape
A boat protection material that won't soak up water or breed mildew.
Store it Deflated
Another tip for maintaining your inflatable kayak is to place an inflatable kayak on level ground. This caution is necessary, especially when the boat is not in use for an extended period. This measure keeps it from falling and getting damaged.
Let's say the kayak is fully deflated. In that case, cover its compartments with a waterproof tarp or seal them properly with strong duct tape. This measure prevents puncture-causing leaks while your boat is in storage.
Ensure a Clean Hull
Even when stored on dry land, dirt, leaves, and other debris can accumulate on an inflatable kayak. This can happen regardless of how thick or durable its material or covering may be.
As a result, you need to ensure a kayak's cleaning regardless of how challenging it may be to access some areas of its hull. Inspect your kayak regularly, ensuring its cleaned from time to time.
Related Article: How Long Do PVC Inflatable Boats Last?
You can maintain an inflatable boat by adhering to simple measures like keeping it covered when not used. But you first need a good kayak for your maintenance efforts to count. The desire to maintain your kayak well can be easily thwarted if you originally purchased a bad one.
It’s also important to recognize when your inflatable boat is beyond maintenance and due for a replacement.
At Perun Outdoors, we specialize in great kayaks for your boating pleasure at the best prices. Check out our collection of inflatable boats today!